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By KYLE JACOBSON APRIL 12TH, 2017 The Smokies Challenge Adventure Run (S.C.A.R) - a 70+ mile traverse of the Great Smokies Mountains National Park via the Appalachian Trail. Backpacking along the AT in the Smokies is a very common activity, but there is a small subculture of ultra runners that...

One of our Ambassadors Kyle Jacobson did the Smokies Challenge Adventure Run

The Smokies Challenge Adventure Run (S.C.A.R) - a 70+ mile traverse of the Great Smokies Mountains National Park via the Appalachian Trail. Backpacking along the AT in the Smokies is a very common activity, but there is a small subculture of ultra runners that attempt this traverse all in one push. For backpackers, it is a 5+ day trip. Our goal was to try to finish around 22 hours.

There were six of us that drove to the Smokies for this adventure run. Jeff, Jim, Ryne and myself came from Nashville. Daniel came from Chattanooga. And Hunter came from Birmingham. Jim, Daniel and myself were the runners. Jeff, Ryne and Hunter were the crew.

We decided to start our run from Fontana Dam, ending at Davenport Gap. The total elevation gain for the route is around 18,500'. Almost 13,000' of that are in the first 40 miles. The one spot that we were going to be able to see the crew was at Newfound Gap at approximately mile 40. Other than that, we were on our own.

We all arrived at Fontana Dam from our various locales around 1:30PM on Friday. We couldn't have asked for better weather for March in the Smokies. The highs were around 50 degrees and the overnight lows were in the upper 30's, even on top of Clingman's Dome. The plan was to start early afternoon so that we could finish on Saturday in the daylight rather than a more typical early morning start and finishing early morning (or very late night) the next day. We took about 45 minutes getting ourselves organized at the Fontana Dam. From there Jeff and Ryne dropped us off at the trailhead and just like that, we were off.

Official start time of 2:26PM on Friday, March 24th.

The climbing began immediately from step number one. There was 2000' of elevation gain in the first 4 miles up to Shuckstack fire tower. We settled in to a power hiking pace for the first few hours as we climbed and climbed and climbed. The sky was mostly overcast and it was cool, perfect conditions. The majority of the first 12 miles were in the proverbial 'green tunnel' so there weren't a lot views, even with the leafless winter trees. That changed once we hit Russel Field Shelter. The tree canopy started to open up as we were on a series of balds for the next couple of hours. We got very lucky with our timing and got to experience a hazy sunset from just below Rocky Top and Thunderhead Mtn. This was very rejuvenating as we prepared to enter 12 hours of darkness for the overnight section.

The headlamps officially had to be switched on just right around 8PM so we enjoyed 5 1/2 hours of great visuals of the Smoky Mountains. From here a mental flip switched for me. I could no longer distract myself from the distance by simply enjoying the scenery. Now it was time to dig in and really enjoy the process and time with Jim and Daniel. This is also where story time with Jim and Daniel really started to pick up. There are lots of quiet stretches on the trails when running with others but there is also plenty of time to discuss almost any topic that you can come up with...especially when you are on the trail for almost 24 hours. Kids, relationships, favorite recipes, opinions on diet/nutrition, favorite trails, hobbies outside of running, parenthood tips and tricks, etc etc. I am very thankful for these conversations on the trails. The time together provides a place of great community.

The overnight hours all tend to blend together. We were all feeling good physically and mentally for the most part 25 miles in. We filled up on water for a second time at Double Spring Gap Shelter at mile ~26ish. At this point I hit a real low spot for the next couple of hours. I'm not exactly sure why or what caused it. I had kept up with my nutrition and hydration but had a real lack of energy for the entire 6 mile climb up to Clingman's Dome. Possibly because this was at a time that my body was typically used to going to bed so it was revolting against the idea of staying up all night? Once we got near the summit of Clingman's, the temperature dropped significantly and it became very foggy, wet, and windy. This was the only time during the entire run that I was uncomfortable due to weather. After a couple hour climb up the steep, rocky trail, we made it to the summit and descended down the backside as quickly as possible to get out of the wind. The views from Clingman's are typically phenomenal so being up in the dark with visibility no more than a couple of feet due to the fog was a completely different experience for me.

From the summit of Clingman's we had roughly 8 mostly downhill miles to get to our crew at Newfound Gap. Thankfully I started to feel much better as we started the descent. This portion was almost as slow as the climb up due to all the wet, slippery rocks and very steep trail. This was also the first section that really dragged on for all us because we were all expecting to make it to the crew point sooner than we did. Finally, around 3:30AM, approximately 13 hours after we started, we made it to Newfound Gap. Jeff, Ryne and Hunter were there awaiting our arrival. They had prepared hot coffee and soup for us and had all of our gear and food out and ready for us to grab whatever we needed. We spent about 15 minutes or so at Newfound taking in some hot calories and preparing for the final 30 mile push to Davenport Gap. The crew team was very efficient and pushed us out as quickly as possible so we didn't have time to get comfortable and not want to continue on to the finish.

I have ran and/or hiked the majority of the trail from Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap so I mostly knew what to expect. Fewer long, steep climbs than the first 40 miles but lots of technical trails and rolling climbs and descents that are a tough on tired legs. Spirits stayed pretty high and conversation continued to flow as the miles continued to click off in the darkness. We were in pretty heavy fog for the rest of the night after leaving Newfound Gap. Finally around 7:45AM the sun began to fight through the fog and we were able to shut our headlamps off for the first time in 12 hours. The sun came up just in time for us to get to experience the thick, green tunnel of ferns, moss and pines around Tricorner Knob.

Around Mt. Guyot we all began to hit a low spot. We were nearly 19 hours into our adventure and we were all beginning to get really tired. The technical trail was wearing us down physically and the lack of sleep was wearing us down mentally. At this point we were all ready to be finished but we still had about 15 miles to go. Our pace dropped considerably on the last 15 miles. We were on pace to hit our 22 hour target up until this point. We kept thinking we were closer to the finish than we actually were which was very mentally taxing but we continued to trudge forward. We stopped for one last water fill up at Cosby Knob shelter. Jeff and Hunter had run in from Davenport Gap to look for us and run out with us. They were expecting to see us at Mt. Cammerer but found us at Cosby Knob three more miles up the trail. We were behind schedule. They delivered the tough news that we still had eight miles to go but it was a bit of a boost having a couple more people to "run" with. There wasn't much running happening at this point. We hiked the last couple climbs to Mt. Cammerer and from there it was five miles all down hill to the end...three of those being very rocky and technical. Once we navigated our our way through the rocky section we hit Davenport Gap shelter and knew it was a smooth two miles to the end. These were our fastest two miles of the entire trip. Finally Ryne and his dog Dany came into view sitting by the final trail sign. We had made it.

23 hours, 45 minutes, 57 seconds.

Ryne was waiting for us at the finish with cold drinks and ready to prepare any food we wanted. It was a great feeling to be able to sit down. The adrenaline associated with finally being finished jolted me back to life a little bit. I suddenly didn't feel quite as tired and my body didn't feel as run down. This was my longest run since Stillhouse 100k in December and the longest I have ever continuously been on my feet by over 10 hours. What an incredible adventure.

I am very thankful to have found this community of runners/friends. I couldn't be more humbled that Jeff, Ryne and Hunter decided to make a 4+ hour drive to the Smokies to spend a sleepless weekend making sure that Daniel, Jim and myself had as good a run as possible. We owe you guys one. Thank you to Daniel and Jim for the miles and miles of stories, knowledge, laughs and wisdom.

My mental capacities weren't firing on all cylinders and I completely forgot to get a picture of us at the end. But here is one from the following morning with our eyes still half closed...

 

I get two questions all the time: What do you eat? and Why do I run such long distances? I will try to explain.

WHAT DO I EAT?

Short answer: As much as possible. With an early afternoon start, I ate breakfast and lunch basically how I usually would. Oatmeal for breakfast and a chicken sandwich for lunch.

On the run I carried:

  • 800 calories of Tailwind (electrolyte drink mix)
  • 800 calories of trail mix
  • 3 packs of peanut butter crackers
  • 800 calories of GU energy chews
  • 600 calories of salami/turkey/cheese rollups

At the crew point at Newfound Gap I ate:

  • A bowl of ramen noodles
  • A cup of coffee
  • An oatmeal cream pie
  • Fritos
  • Three pieces of cheese pizza

All this totals to roughly 4000 calories. I typically eat very little solid food while running but the pace of this adventure run and the nearly perfect temperatures made it possible to be able to eat these heavier foods.

WHY?

1- There is a lot to be learned about yourself and others while pushing one's self to a very fatigued state. I make the choice to do these long endeavors. I want to know what my boundaries are; what my limits are. When you think you have reached your limit, physically and mentally, you can always push further. This knowledge/experience extends into daily life and into situations that are completely out of my control. And I think I am a much better person for it.

2 - I have met a lot of fantastic people in the running community. The friendships, adventures and the stories that come from them are memories that I will treasure forever.

3 - God has blessed me physically to be able to do these types of runs. I want to get out and explore all of the beauty that God has created on this planet while I can.

Fly Fishing for Native Cutthroat Trout Flat Creek, WY By Bailey Brandon Nashville, Tennessee is lucky to be surrounded by an abundance of fisheries. Whether you’re targeting bass on the Harpeth River or trout on the Caney Fork, one does not have to drive far to be out of the...

Fly Fishing in Wyoming for Cutthroat


Fly Fishing for Native Cutthroat Trout

Flat Creek, WY

By Bailey Brandon

Nashville, Tennessee is lucky to be surrounded by an abundance of fisheries. Whether you’re targeting bass on the Harpeth River or trout on the Caney Fork, one does not have to drive far to be out of the city and throwing line. If you’re willing to take a two to three-hour drive, the Holston and Watauga in Northeast Tennessee have some of the best trout fisheries on the East Coast. Oh, and don’t forget Western North Carolina and the Smokies.

That all being said, fishing out west, whether it be Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana or even Alaska, is a very unique experience and one that can’t be compared to our local waters.

Flat Creek is small stream that roams through the heart of Jackson, Wyoming and the National Elk Refuge. This is a river that anglers from all over the world come to fish. The small, twenty-foot-wide, clear watered stream is much different than the snake river or any other nearby water.  Only fishable during the summer and early fall, you can bet caddis and mayfly hatches will be going off throughout its open season. 

 

Figure 1: Rob and Bailey plotting their plan of attack

On Flat Creek, you target a specific kind of fish, the Native Cutthroat Trout. While this small stream is heavily exposed, you’ll be lucky to set your eyes on one of these fish. They love to hang out in the undercuts of banks, not exposing themselves to the elements or anglers.

Figure 2: Bailey fishing on Flat Creek

8AM on August 1st was opening day for Flat Creek. A buddy and I pulled up to an access point of the Elk Refuge, where cars were parked as far as the eye could see with license plates from near and far. Many anglers showed up at sunrise as the local rangers opened the gates. While we also planned to show up at sunrise, the previous evening had gotten the best of us. A local biologist was collecting data from the anglers. Of the twenty to thirty anglers who had left the river by the time we had arrived, only a few were to report a catch and release.  To give you an idea, that is pretty typical for this stretch of water. Flat creek is all about quality, not quantity. These fish are spooked easily and are very smart. To come out with one, two, or even three fish for the day is a huge success. After a few months of pressure, it only becomes more difficult.

As we approached the river through waist high grass, you could barely see the top of the water through all of the insects. As anyone who has ever seen a hatch go off would tell you, it is a beautiful sight. We closely inspected the water and tied on our flies which best imitated the current hatch. I did not make a single cast for the first twenty minutes until I saw a fish rise to the top of the water. Very subtly, bubbles and ripples break broke the surface of the water. One rise, two rises, and I knew immediately that a fish was coming out from the undercut for a morning meal. I threw my Pale Morning Dun (PMD) ever so lightly about five feet upstream of the rising trout and … bam! That sucker took my fly like a bat out of hell. Adrenaline and goose bumps took over my entire body. As I yelled to my friend who was upstream, he sprinted down to get in on the action. After about ten to fifteen minutes of fighting the Cutthroat, he finally gave up and with his head was above water.

Fishing Flat Creek is a one of a kind experience. The West is known for its big waters and big fish, but Flat Creek is a smaller water with big fish. It’s not a stretch where you throw hundreds of casts, but one where you closely inspect and patiently wait for that perfect moment to trick some of the most beautiful fish the West has to offer.

Figure 3: Bailey's first catch of the day

 

-Bailey is one of our Ambassadors who is passionate about spending his free time fishing, biking, hiking skiing and anything else that gets him outside.  Follow his adventures on instagram @rbbrandon

Here at Cumberland Transit, we pride ourselves not just in the best gear, but also a staff that is knowledgeable and passionate about the outdoors. Meet Ethan and M.E.   Ethan is an accomplished thru hiker and has already tackled big sections of the AT, all 2,700 miles of the...

Meet CT Staffers M.E. and Ethan

Here at Cumberland Transit, we pride ourselves not just in the best gear, but also a staff that is knowledgeable and passionate about the outdoors. Meet Ethan and M.E.  

Ethan is an accomplished thru hiker and has already tackled big sections of the AT, all 2,700 miles of the PCT, and the JMT. When he is not on the trail, he enjoys rock climbing, fly fishing, and trail running. Ethan joined the CT family in 2015.

M.E. heads up our Fly Shop and is a master at tying flies. She teaches classes a few times each month here in the shop on fly tying at different levels, and you can occasionally catch one of her in depth entomology classes. In addition to Fly Fishing she enjoys hiking, camping, rock climbing, and paddle boarding. M.E. has been apart of the CT family since 2012. 

This spring Ethan and M.E. will be hiking the Continental Divide Trail spanning 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada through the Rockies. You can follow along on their adventure a couple of different ways:

  There is a magic amount of training that should be done for a long hike, without overdoing it. Injuries can happen due to over-training just as much as they can happen from not training. Here are some areas that we think are worth addressing before setting out:  FEET -...

How to Train for a Thru-Hike (Especially when you live at 522 feet above sea level)

 

There is a magic amount of training that should be done for a long hike, without overdoing it. Injuries can happen due to over-training just as much as they can happen from not training. Here are some areas that we think are worth addressing before setting out: 

FEET - No matter what you do to prepare physically for a thru-hike, your focus, first and foremost, should be on your feet. A hard lesson to learn is that what we do to our feet now affects what our feet will be able to do later. Most feet can handle long distance, that is a beautiful part of being human in that we are truly endurance animals. However you can thank evolution for the fact that our feet are so prone to sprains, plantar fasciitis, and the other ugly faces of foot pain. Discrepancies between the potential of our feet and reality of our foot health date back to the beginning when we became bipedal creatures. Whether or not we live an active lifestyle, foot pain is merciless and can cause not just discomfort but also a change in our daily lives. With all that said, it is crucial to always take care of your feet from the very first step we take, unfortunately we may not be graced with the advantage of knowing from the beginning that we some day will want to hike across the country. Some of us will just have to settle with falling in love with our feet the moment we decide to take our thru-hike dream and turn it into an attainable reality. So where do you go from here?

  1. STRETCH - Stretch, Dammit. It is not complicated, and most of the time you can actively stretch while sitting at a desk, in class, in a meeting, wherever your want! There are no excuses. Here are some of our favorites:       

  • Ankle Circles- Sitting down, or standing, isolate one ankle by drawing air circles with your toes. Continue for 30 seconds before reversing the direction of the circle. Repeat with the other ankle.

  • Flex Stretch- Sitting down, flex one foot by slowly pulling, with the toes, the foot towards your shin. At the top of the flex, slowly point the toes away from your shin, stretching down the top of the foot. Continue for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other foot.
  • Roll ‘Em Out- Grab a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, Nalgene water bottle, or foam roller. Sit the roller underneath your arch and roll your weight around on the roller. You are the judge of how much weight to put into your foot. Repeat on the other foot. If you really want a treat, freeze water in a water bottle before rolling ‘em out.       

Stretching will be a huge factor in maintaining and building strength as well as decreasing the chances of injury.

     2.  STRENGTHEN- The best way to build foot strength especially for a thru-hike is to hike. Add miles incrementally, and hike with your weighted pack when you can. If you are taking on extra work to save up money for a thru-hike, we can relate, you might not be able to hike as much as you would like to during the week. Try out these simple exercises to get your feet in tip top shape to hike the distance:

  • Calf Raises- Standing tall rise up on the ball of one foot. Lower your heel towards the ground, without resting it on the ground. Repeat for 20 reps, and then switch to the other foot. This can be performed on a flat surface or on the edge of a step.
  • Toe Crunch- Place a towel or handkerchief on the ground and step one foot on the area. Spread your toes out wide, and then scrunch the towel up with your toes as you bring them back in.  Repeat 15-20 times before switching feet.

    3. SOAK- Treat your feet to a weekly Epsom Salt soak. All you need is some hot water, Epsom Salt, and 20 minutes to revive your feet. Do not forget to drink lots of water afterwards!

   4. SUPPORT- Wear good shoes. The definition of good shoes is a pair of properly fitting shoes that provide the support and matches the profile of your foot. It is extremely easy to go by the shoe your friend recommends or your friend’s friend, but in reality, everyone’s foot needs are different. What shoe may be best for one hiker, may not work for you. Do your research in the field, not just online. As you start hiking around, pay close attention to your posture and how you distribute your weight on your feet. Do you roll your foot outwards when you walk or during normal motion? Do you roll your feet inwards? Overpronation and Supination are important to address before you get on the trail, don't ignore it. Do you have a high arch or a flat arch? These are all factors to take into consideration when picking out a trail shoe that works best for you. A good tip if you do not know where to start is to hit up a knowledgeable gear shop to have an expert check out your gait and offer recommendations.

CARDIOVASCULAR - Hiking, and just simply staying active, during the months leading up to your hike is important. Your body will have a lot of adjustments to make as is. Practice climbing elevation by hiking more difficult trails. If you live only a couple of hundred feet above sea level, pick a hill and repeat climbing it over and over. Your heart will be happy and carefree on the trail. Plus all of us low elevation dwellers will need any little bit of help for high altitude and peaks when we get there.

HIPS/LEGS- Another good reason to hike before you hike is to get your legs in shape. We mentioned before but can mention again the benefit of hiking especially with a weighted pack. It is a good idea to experiment with different paces to see what is comfortable for you, what you can work towards and what is too much. To supplement the hiking, stretching is a great way to maintain mobility and to help with recovery in between your hikes. In addition to hip flexors, the IT band is not one to leave out! There are so many stretches out there that target the hips and supporting muscles. Here are a handful of our favorites and what they stretch:

  • Frog Pose (Inner Thighs)- Begin in Table Pose. Take your legs out a little wider, keeping your knees in line with your ankles and feet. Take getting into this pose slow, and know your limits - don’t push it! Walk your arms out on the floor in front of you. Your elbows can rest on the floor, if you are there. Exhale slowly while pushing your hips backwards until you feel the stretch in your hips and inner thighs. Spend 3-6 breaths here.

  • Low Lunge (Hip Flexors)- From standing fold forward to place hands on the floor. Step back with one foot and set your back knee on the ground. Push your hips forward to actively stretch your hip flexors. Bring your torso tall while breathing into the stretch. You can gradually deepen the stretch. Hold here for 30 seconds before switching to the other leg.

  • Thread the Needle (Gluteus Maximus attaching to IT)- Laying on your back with you feet on the ground and knees in the air, place your right ankle just above your left knee or on your thigh. Holding your left leg around the thigh, pull your left knee towards you. Make sure to keep your back flat on the ground. Hold for 1-2 minutes before switching to the other side.

  • Standing Forward Bend (Hamstrings)- With your feet slightly apart, bend forward with your arms reaching towards the ground. Here you can use a block or a step, if you cannot reach the ground. You can also keep a slight bend in your knees as to not lock them out. Hold for 5-6 breaths.

Listed are just a few of our favorites. There is a wide variety of stretches that target different components of the hip-leg system. Stretching your legs will benefit your feet as well as your back. Always remember to take new stretches slow, and know your limits. Also remember that everything works like a machine. While you can isolate one muscle to stretch or strengthen, in order to keep the system working efficiently, you have to give attention to all of the components.

CORE- Core is crucial. No, you do not have to take on the trail with a chiseled six-pack. However, core is responsible for balance, agility, and good posture. With a weighted pack on your back, your core will help you keep upright and strong. Our daily movement on and off the trail is far from just frontal movement, or a single plane of movement. Therefore, just working out on one plane is not quite beneficial. Instead, try out strengthening exercises that target multi-planar, or rotational, movement.  

  • Plank- Starting on hands and knees in Table pose, step your feet back. Image a string starting at your belly button pulling straight up into the sky. You should feel your abs working here not your arms. There are tons of variations to a basic plank; you can always make it easier or more challenging. Hold 30 second to 1 minute. Repeat as many times as you want.
  • Side Plank- Come to your side on the ground. You can either take this pose from your elbow or go all the way up on your hand. The key here is to lift your hip/buttocks off the ground and to keep it from sagging to the ground. Likewise to the plank, there are lots of variations here. One of our favorite modifications is to begin to lower your hips and then take them back up to a full plank. Another modification to deepen the exercise is to thread your free hand underneath your supporting arm, twisting through your obliques.

  • Superman- Laying on your stomach with your hands straight out in front of your long ways, raise your chest off of the floor powering from your lower back. Rise up and hold or carry through the entire movement. Lower back to the ground slowly. These movements should be controlled. Repeat for 20 reps or 30 seconds. 

CLEAR HEADSPACE- It is simple. Being comfortable in your own mind is crucial to being able to handle the inevitable moments of loneliness that come with a long hike. Meditation, even in the smallest doses, is good for you. The ability to calm your mind will also help out in situations of distress, discomfort, or with anxiety. If you have trouble with your mind wandering or thinking about what is next or dwelling on what has past, focus on your breath. Practice this before hitting the trail.

 For more tips and advice on thru-hiking, head to www.trailingthought.com .

HAPPY TRAINING AND HAPPY TRAILS!

 

Want to save big on your favorite items from top brands? Come to the Cumberland Transit End Of Season SALE this weekend only! We'll be setting up our sale tent in the back parking lot of our West Nashville based store located at 2807 West End Avenue, Nashville TN.  Our...

End Of Season SALE FEB 24-26

Want to save big on your favorite items from top brands? Come to the Cumberland Transit End Of Season SALE this weekend only! We'll be setting up our sale tent in the back parking lot of our West Nashville based store located at 2807 West End Avenue, Nashville TN. 

Our end of season sales start at 30% off on Friday, move to 40% off on Saturday, and end at 50% off all remaining items on Sunday. Be sure to come check out what we have early because once it's gone, it's gone. 

Our sales tent will include everything that is currently in our sale section, but we'll be adding a lot to it as our Spring stock is coming in this week and we need to make room. 

Brands you'll see in the tent include (but aren't limited to) Patagonia, The North Face, Hoka One One, Petzl, Dansko, and much more!

Sale Schedule:
FRIDAY: 30% OFF
SATURDAY: 40% OFF
SUNDAY: 50% OFF
Nashville is known as being an extremely diverse city and a hot spot for refugees and immigrants relocating to the United States. One of our most diverse neighborhood lies along the Charlotte Pike corridor and is home to a local nonprofit that Cumberland Transit is happy to work with. The Oasis Bike...

The Oasis Bike Workshop and Teen Mountain Bike Team

Nashville is known as being an extremely diverse city and a hot spot for refugees and immigrants relocating to the United States. One of our most diverse neighborhood lies along the Charlotte Pike corridor and is home to a local nonprofit that Cumberland Transit is happy to work with. The Oasis Bike Workshop was founded in 2009 as a year round program to help young people work to earn a bike as a form of alternative transportation. From their website: 

"Through this free, volunteer-powered program, youth participate in weekly workshops in which they custom build their own bicycle from the frame up, and are trained in bicycle safety and maintenance. Upon completion of the workshop, each participant rides away with their own bicycle, as well as a new helmet, lock, lights, toolkit and a bit of grease under their fingernails as proof of their new skill set." 

Beyond the workshop program they've started a teen mountain bike team which now competes locally and in nearby cities in NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) sanctioned races. The team is made up of kids from all over the world speaking different languages, but coming together to learn a new sport and cheer each other on. Cumberland Transit is happy to have contributed to this team by donating their team helmets and bike parts so they can continue to grow their strength and talent. Last week NPR ran a story on the Oasis Teen Mountain Bike Team and we wanted to make sure to share the story and what the team has been able to accomplish so far! For the full NPR story please click here. 

January 18, 2017 In Tennessee, all creeks seem to lead to the Cumberland River, but it is when you leave these mosaicked waters and head deep into the rhododendron wrapped forests that you find the true mightiness and potential of water.  Once a seabed hundreds of million years ago and...

Our day on the Cumberland Plateau

January 18, 2017

In Tennessee, all creeks seem to lead to the Cumberland River, but it is when you leave these mosaicked waters and head deep into the rhododendron wrapped forests that you find the true mightiness and potential of water.  Once a seabed hundreds of million years ago and now sitting 2000 feet above sea level, the Cumberland Plateau is a mecca for the most beautifully unique, yet perfectly carved rock formations this side of the Mississippi. Shaped by time's erosion and the persistence of water cutting through the sandstone, you would think the hand tools of man carved out each wrinkle, smoothed out each slab, and painted the rocks using the most beautiful palettes of purples, oranges, reds, and greens. However, the greatness of these rocks do not overshadow the other features of the land. A crystal creek flows over, around, and under glistening stones as the old growth frames the serpentine path, yet there is so much vastness. It is a rather delicate creek home to rather delicate creatures, yet here they flourish. Each bend in the trail leads to a furrow of rock herding us back into the gorge. In one corner of the rock wall, runs just enough water to create two tiers of falling water yet not enough to roar and rip through the canyon. Everything is coated with moss and beads of water, even the humidity captures rays of daylight giving this particular area a foggy glow. It immediately feels like we are in a far away rainforest, far away from human influence, and far away from the Tennessee we call home. Yet, home we are. 

(Click on one of the images to see more of our staffers Ethan and M.E.'s day)

Ronnie is returning to teach us about soft hackles! Be sure to RSVP for this event.  Start Time: 6:30PM End Time: 8:15PM RSVP: Call the shop to save your spot (615) 321-4069!

FEB. 7 - Fly Tying: Soft Hackles with Ronnie

Ronnie is returning to teach us about soft hackles! Be sure to RSVP for this event. 

Start Time: 6:30PM

End Time: 8:15PM

RSVP: Call the shop to save your spot (615) 321-4069!

Join us for a night of fun and learning how to tie some of our favorite flies.    Start time: 6:30 PM  End time: 8:15 PM Price: FREE, but you must RSVP by calling the shop. Spots are limited.  RSVP: Call the shop at (615) 321-4069 to reserve your spot. ...

January 31st - Fly Tying 201

Join us for a night of fun and learning how to tie some of our favorite flies. 

 

Start time: 6:30 PM 

End time: 8:15 PM

Price: FREE, but you must RSVP by calling the shop. Spots are limited. 

RSVP: Call the shop at (615) 321-4069 to reserve your spot. 

The Crazy Owls is Cumberland Transit's trail running club that meets every Monday at 7pm at the Deep Well Entrance of Percy Warner Park.  We usually split up into groups to accommodate pace and distance.  If you want to get crazy one Monday night, come and join us.  Bring water and...

Crazy Owls Trail Maintenance Day at Percy Warner Park

The Crazy Owls is Cumberland Transit's trail running club that meets every Monday at 7pm at the Deep Well Entrance of Percy Warner Park.  We usually split up into groups to accommodate pace and distance.  If you want to get crazy one Monday night, come and join us.  Bring water and a headlamp.  And if the weather is gnarly, check our Instagram to make sure we are meeting.

We run the trails almost every week, so we decided it was time to help out and give our time to some good old fashioned trail maintenance.  All of us here at Cumberland Transit consider Percy Warner to be our backyard, adventure sanctuary.  It's very important to us to be good stewards of this place.

We met at the usual place, but this time it was daylight and we were wearing work clothes instead of our usual running attire.

Paul from Friends of Warner Parks maintains the trails at Percy Warner.  He was our crew chief for the day and planned work for us to do on the Warner Woods Trail.  When you see him out on the trails, give him a high five.  He's an awesome dude!  If you have been on the "white trail" during the winter, you know that it can definitely use some love.  There are a few sections that get really "soupy" muddy.

We spent the day using fire rakes to clear water bars and also added gravel to some of the really muddy sections.

Even with 10 volunteers and 3 hours, it didn't feel like we got much work done.  So if you enjoy these trails as much as we do, please consider becoming a member of Friends of Warner Parks.  We plan do to these trail maintenance days at least once a season, so if you want to help let us know.

Frozen Head December 11, 2016 This past Friday we woke up at 5:30 AM, loaded up the car with all of our backpacking gear and Milo, and drove east through the frigid Tennessee countryside. Only two and a half hours later we were transported from the Nashville basin to the...

Hiking at Frozen Head

Frozen Head

This past Friday we woke up at 5:30 AM, loaded up the car with all of our backpacking gear and Milo, and drove east through the frigid Tennessee countryside. Only two and a half hours later we were transported from the Nashville basin to the towering mountains of Frozen Head State Park. After a few glances at the map, we were off walking on frozen trail through seemingly untouched land.

As we wound around the mountain, switchback after switchback, we climbed in and out of the morning sun up the primarily oak forest of the Chimney Top trail. As we moved into the sunlight, sounds of distant birds and squirrels were constant, as the trail switched back into the shadows it became eerily quiet and the only noises we heard were our footsteps and Milo’s breathing. It quickly became apparent that we had the entire park to ourselves apart from the workers in the valley below. M.E. noticed in the shade there were thousands of hexagonal ice crystals lining the trail just underneath the top layer of leaves. A thick layer of crystals had formed underneath the dirt pebbles on the trail and gave the appearance that we were walking on floating rocks. It was magical. We were not necessarily happy that the park was empty, but excited that we got this incredible mountain all to ourselves for the cold December day.

IMG_4823.JPG

After a period of time we followed the trail the the top of Rough Ridge where we stopped to look at the small sandstone capstones that littered the top of the ridge. For a brief moment we were unsure if we had reached the top of our climb, but as we looked towards the east we noticed a peak at least a thousand feet taller than where we were standing. Then the trail began downwards. One of the things learned after thousands of miles of hiking is that trail builders usually do things for a reason. It seemed that the only reason we would be descending off of a ridgeline was that there was a water source at the bottom of the valley. About fifteen minutes of descending later, the prediction stood to be true as we crossed over Rocky Fork Branch and then immediately began ascending again.

There are things in the eastern United States that unfortunately are uncommon; the beautifully colored darters, the high towering American chestnuts and Hemlocks. While we did not get to see any of these, we did get to walk through a very old growth oak and hickory forest as we reached the top of the mountain. The trees towered high above our heads and appeared to be well pruned upwards of seventy feet. Even though we see trees everyday in Nashville, and even big trees when we hike in Percy Warner Park, the size and multitude of these trees stopped us in our tracks. Eastern Tennessee’s rich history of logging and mining extracted most of the large timbers in the state to use for large buildings, structure for coal mine shafts, fuel to melt iron ore and removed trees to clear land for agriculture (link below). At that time, resources seemed inexhaustible and there was not much care taken to preserve the trees. One hundred year old pictures of the American chestnuts show trees rivaling the redwoods of the west. Trees that are now nearly extinct in our region. To walk through a forest of massive trees that had to have preceded this time is a very powerful thing.

Soon we arrived on top of a steep ridgeline and decided to go ahead and eat a couple snickers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Milo had dog food and a few treats of course). Even on a short hike, maintaining energy to continue is crucial for an enjoyable day. Although it is possible to hike a long distance with little food, hills that would normally seem easy become more and more difficult. A few hundred feet later and we came to the fifteen to twenty foot tall sandstone capstones of Chimney Top. Icicles hung over a small overhang in the rock that appeared to create a perfect campsite. To the south a small trail led up to the top of the rocks where a sign read “Chimney Top Elev. 3120.” This prominent overlook felt massive compared to the elevation of Nashville (~500 ft) only a couple hours away. The Crab Orchard mountains appear to form out of nowhere from the surrounding farmland, making them feel even taller.

After hanging out at the top for awhile, we decided to head back to the ranger station before the trails closed. We talked and laughed about the amazing day on our way down the mountain, filled with the happiness and joy that only comes from spending the day outside. We had not even been phased by the sub freezing weather and gusts of wind due to the excitement of the beautiful hike. There is something to be said about this feeling. What causes it? The fresh air, the solitude, the physical exertion, the silence, or even just the visual stimulation. No matter what the exact reason is, these are all reasons that we are hiking the Continental Divide this summer. Just the opportunity to prolong that feeling is refreshing to think about. That feeling drives both of us everyday.

Below the ridge, our car became visible again and we had completed another beautiful hike in a beautiful park. A park that is not as well travelled as some of the others in the state and does need donations to continue to maintain and protect its beautiful trails. To donate to Frozen Head State Park or to just find out more information, visit the park or click the link below.

LEARN MORE AND DONATE

My name is TJ Maurer,  I live in Chattanooga, TN, and I am a sales rep for Fayettechill. My wife and I moved to Tennessee 5 years ago not for a job or out of necessity.  We moved here because where we are now, while I am writing this, is...

One of our Sales Reps TJ Maurer, On Balance in Work & Play

My name is TJ Maurer,  I live in Chattanooga, TN, and I am a sales rep for Fayettechill. My wife and I moved to Tennessee 5 years ago not for a job or out of necessity.  We moved here because where we are now, while I am writing this, is exactly where we wanted to be – which is a whole other idea of serendipity we can talk about on a long drive or around a campfire one evening.

 

I climb rocks, I ride bikes through the foothills, I chase trout, I run about both visible and invisible trails through forests, I sleep in my truck, I have two chickens, and when I am not doing any of that, I rep for outdoor brands that I believe in.  I escape to the mountains as often as I am able, which seems to motivate me to work as hard as I can while in town, which then leads to anticipation and drive for more play. Both the love of home and the strive for balance in all facets of life seem to be two similarities shared with Fayettechill, myself, and countless other individuals.

Seeking balance in life is a simple idea, ancient and easy to practice, yet seemingly overlooked. I strive for a balance of work and play, of urbanscapes and natural environments.  A balance of encircling myself among like minded individuals and also those who think differently.  I see it pretty simply – I work hard and, thus, play hard.

 

 

 

But there is an imbalance in work and play that is two sided. On one hand, those who despise their job. Problem doesn’t lie with the 40-hour work week, but within the increasing number of people who settle for situations they detest. On the other side, those who deny jobs all together, a generation of social media enthusiasts quitting their job, living out of a van, and traveling to see the world. I’ve done this myself and I can assure you I would make the decision to travel and drop everything again, again, and even again. However, we have begun to romanticize people dropping everything and unsubscribing to the conventional way of thought previous generations laid out before us. If one thinks a bit more about the consequences of this lifestyle, especially if we all lived this way… we would not exist, the luxuries we have would not be available, and there would be absolutely no way to live in vans and chase adventure.

I hope I portrayed both sides of the equation fairly here.  The main point I want to make is that both ways of living are not mutually exclusive.  We can work a conventional job, even a 9-5 one, but find balance through habitual satisfaction of our wanderlust. I think the simplest way to practice this balance starts by appreciation of the zip code you live in.

Since living in Chattanooga, my concept of vacation has changed. Now when on vacation, I do not dread that last day or even the day leading to that last day of the vacation, the long road back home and the restart of daily life.  It could be because our vacations are adventures in the woods, the high desert, or lesser known coastlines – all generally without warm showers.  At the end of it all, our return to the daily grind is coupled with the return to our hometown of undulating trails, warm hued southern sandstone, overwhelming vitality of the Appalachian foothills, a community of some of our best friends, and warm showers.  

 

I imagine it to be no different for the folks at Fayettechill. They adventure all around the world, climbing mountains, fishing rivers, and surfing waves.  Despite their near utopian travels and weeks abroad, I can safely bet they long for Fayetteville at the end of it all.  They are motivated and inspired to realign themselves with their work and continuing to better themselves, the company and those around them upon returning.

Despite working a “real job”within the real economy, we can still attempt to inspire both ourselves and others through the other 80 hours a week. We can still take post worthy pictures, we can still embellish the already pretty awesome stories around the campfire. We can still strive to create – create photos, stories, climbs, trails, flies, gardens, and shiny new bikes. We can stop wasting time thinking about greener grasses and see the absolute best in where we are and where we are going.  We can love the home and community we chose to reside, grow, and learn within.  We can be involved a bit more than we maybe feel comfortable doing and meet a few more people outside our social circle. Hell, maybe have a beer with them. These are things we can do. These are things we should strive to do as people and organizations and collectives of people. As we do it, we motivate others to do the same. We play hard and work harder, all for an end goal to leave this planet a little better off than we came into it. We all take a personal responsibility to inspire ourselves and those around us. We aspire to be a collection of individual who value both the journey and the destination.

Words & Photos by TJ Maurer | @ticklejeans

This weekend is Thanksgiving, which means we are all bound to eat far too much food as we sit around a table on Thursday with our friends and family. It also means that the beginning of the Holiday season will be fully upon us. Team Green Adventures will be offering...

Team Green Tuesdays: Fall Hikes This Weekend!

This weekend is Thanksgiving, which means we are all bound to eat far too much food as we sit around a table on Thursday with our friends and family. It also means that the beginning of the Holiday season will be fully upon us. Team Green Adventures will be offering a few different events this weekend to help you walk off that turkey and stuffing and forget about the sales.

Saturday our friends at Team Green Adventures are doing two different hikes, the Fall Colors Day Hike and the Intermediate Backpacking: Frozen Head Hike. 

The Fall Colors Day Hike will take place at Virgin Falls and be an 8 mile hike with beautiful views of Tennessee Fall. The trip starts at 7AM and is free for members of Team Green Adventures, but limited to 15 hikers.

The Intermediate Backpacking: Frozen Head trip starts at 7:30AM and will cover 10.5 of strenuous terrain, so if you're up for a challenge this is your trip. On the hike you'll travel to Lookout Tower for some amazing views of the surrounding area. The trip is free for members, $5 for nonmembers. More info on membership to Team Green Adventures. 

Before your hike make sure you having everything you need to get you through, including water filtration or water bottles. Stop by Cumberland Transit and we'll be glad to help you out.

 

 

 

One thing we love about Cumberland Transit is we have a true community of bike enthusiasts. Whether you are a bike commuter, racer, or casual green way rider everyone should know the basics of bike maintenance. If you've ever wondered what you would do if you got a flat, or...

Team Green Tuesdays: Bicycle Maintenance Event This Thursday!

One thing we love about Cumberland Transit is we have a true community of bike enthusiasts. Whether you are a bike commuter, racer, or casual green way rider everyone should know the basics of bike maintenance. If you've ever wondered what you would do if you got a flat, or if you've had other problems with your breaks or gears, than you need to join our friends at Team Green Adventures and Walk Bike Nashville for this week's Bike Maintenance class. 

The class is open to the public and free for everyone. Team Green Adventures members are encouraged to join, as are any of our cyclist friends from Cumberland Transit! They will be covering the following: 

  • Identifying Problems

  • Fixing Flat Tires

  • Oiling Chain

  • Adjusting Brakes

  • Adjusting Derailler

  • And More!

The event will be this Thursday November 17th at 5:30PM at Walk Bike Nashville (943 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN 37206). It is open house style so come and go as you are able. If you have specific questions you are welcome to bring your bike and go through it with them as well. 

For more info and to RSVP please visit the Walk Bike Nashville page so they know how many people to expect! And remember, if you need any bike parts or don't feel comfortable fixing your bike yourself visit our bike shop right here at Cumberland Transit and we make sure you are taken care of! 

Raise your hand if you've ever wanted to try rock climbing, but just haven't found the time to do it yet. I see you over there. Go ahead. Admit it.  Nashville is lucky enough to have an amazing local climbing gym and climb community here, but many people are intimidated...

Team Green Tuesdays: Rock Climbing Night!

Raise your hand if you've ever wanted to try rock climbing, but just haven't found the time to do it yet. I see you over there. Go ahead. Admit it. 

Nashville is lucky enough to have an amazing local climbing gym and climb community here, but many people are intimidated to go for the first time. That's why our friends at Team Green Adventures started their Beginners Climb Night every Tuesday night at Climb Nashville West.


If you're a Team Green Adventures member you'll get admission into the facility, belay lesson, and rental gear all for just $12 (normally a $37 value). Not a member? Come on Tuesday nights and still get in for just $17 with Team Green Adventures. Click to find out more about Team Green Adventures Membership.

 

Already a climber? Don't forget to check out our climbing gear online, or head into the Cumberland Transit store on West End Ave. in Nashville to check out our selection. We'd love to help you find the gear you need for your indoor or outdoor climbing needs. 

Cumberland Transit is a proud supporter and sponsor of local outdoors group Team Green Adventures, so we wanted to do more to talk about what they're up to, and how you can get involved in their adventures!  From their website: "Team Green Adventures is an outdoor adventure group created in...

Team Green Tuesdays: 14 Mile Bike Trip

Cumberland Transit is a proud supporter and sponsor of local outdoors group Team Green Adventures, so we wanted to do more to talk about what they're up to, and how you can get involved in their adventures! 

From their website: "Team Green Adventures is an outdoor adventure group created in 1996 by Lightning 100 (WRLT 100.1FM), Nashville’s Independent Radio Station. Our mission is to engage our listeners, fans, and the Nashville community in an active, sustainable, and healthy lifestyle. We promote active-living through fitness, community service, sustainable practices, and adventure!"

We really couldn't agree with their mission more, which is why we sponsor them! Every week I'll be trying to do a Team Green activity, or tell you about an upcoming activity. Now, I have to tell you, I'm not the most...fit, but I am ecstatic about growing stronger and getting outdoors more with the Nashville community. 

This weekend I joined with eight other bikers to enjoy a 14 mile group ride through Brentwood. I've got to say, I was truly nervous because I have previously only ridden on green ways and have done my best to avoid sharing a road with vehicles. The group leader, Keely, was fantastic at going over safety on the road and making sure I felt at ease before we started the trip. It was really a perfect day to ride around Old Natchez Trace with the Fall colors out in full force. The group is no drop, which meant that there was a ride lead, and a ride tail to ensure no one fell behind. I felt supported as a new biker and ended up having a great time! Check out the Team Green Adventures Calendar to find an upcoming bike, hike, camp, or even horse back riding trip! And don't forget that Cumberland Transit will always be here online or in our store on West End Ave in Nashville to make sure you have the gear you need to be #VentureReady!

 

This month we hosted an Intro to Fly Tying class right in our store here in Nashville. Nine participants came out with one mission: to tie their first fly. We started everyone off by giving them a tour of our Fly Shop where our resident fly fishing experts, Ronnie, M.E....

Learning The Wooly Bugger

This month we hosted an Intro to Fly Tying class right in our store here in Nashville. Nine participants came out with one mission: to tie their first fly. We started everyone off by giving them a tour of our Fly Shop where our resident fly fishing experts, Ronnie, M.E. and Ethan, went over what to expect when stepping into the Fly Shop including materials and tools. We know it can be overwhelming when you first start learning a new craft, but our staff at Cumberland Transit are always here to help.

After we discussed the different types of materials one may encounter in fly tying we got situated behind our vises. Everyone was provided the materials they needed to tie one Wooly Bugger, a classic fly pattern that offers a great range of techniques to learn when you are first starting out.

We hope everyone enjoyed coming out to the shop for this free event! If you missed it make sure to stay updated with our events on Facebook. Our next class is on September 27th (more info here), and spaces DO fill up. We’ll be offering Fly Tying classes every other Tuesday, and hope to add a 201 class for those who are ready to dive in deeper. If you attended the class we’d love to hear your feedback.
Make sure you have the right gear for your next adventure! On the SECOND WEDNESDAY of every OTHER month, join us and Team Green Adventures to learn about the latest trends in outdoor gear. After the workshop, we'll draw a door prize winner for $50 Gift Card to Cumberland Transit....

Dec 14 6-7PM - Gear Workshop: Winter Backpacking

Make sure you have the right gear for your next adventure! On the SECOND WEDNESDAY of every OTHER month, join us and Team Green Adventures to learn about the latest trends in outdoor gear. After the workshop, we'll draw a door prize winner for $50 Gift Card to Cumberland Transit.


On December 14, we will cover all the basics you'll need to know about backpacking in the cold, including:

  • Sleeping bag & tent ratings
  • Base layers & winter apparel
  • Backpacking stoves & warm foods
  • How to efficiently pack your backpack
  • Footwear for snow/ice hiking
  • Planning for emergencies

Feel free to ask questions throughout. Registers will be open late, so feel free to arrive early or stay late to browse the racks. Team Green Members can enjoy 10% off non-sales items when you show your membership card.

Please RSVP for this event on our Facebook event page so we can get an estimate on attendance. Walk-ins are welcome.

2016 WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
February 10th- Winter Backpacking
April 13th- Bikes & Cycling Gear
June 8th- Summer Backpacking
August 10th- Day Hiking
October 12th- Orienteering (Maps, GPS & Compass)
December 14th- Winter Backpacking

Visit Team Green Adventures for more details.
Join KEEN Footwear with a an evening of FILMS, BEERS AND CHEERS! Please meet us at Cumberland Transit in Nashville at 6:30pm for the KEEN Footwear "Live Monumental" Pint & Movie Night! The KEEN Live Monumental film tour will feature three documentaries celebrating our nation's public lands. Beer will be...

Sept. 15 6:30-8PM -- KEEN + Cumberland Transit Present: Live Monumental in Nashville

Join KEEN Footwear with a an evening of FILMS, BEERS AND CHEERS! Please meet us at Cumberland Transit in Nashville at 6:30pm for the KEEN Footwear "Live Monumental" Pint & Movie Night! The KEEN Live Monumental film tour will feature three documentaries celebrating our nation's public lands. Beer will be on tap, along with a raffle-filled intermission! RSVP here!

THE PROGRAM

LIVE MONUMENTAL
Nine weeks and 7500 miles of canyons, petroglyphs, starry nights and breakdowns – KEEN Footwear’s 1976 Live Monumental RV embarks on a classic American road trip to protect the places we play. Teddy Roosevelt is the guiding star urging citizens and a gridlocked political system to create lasting change through the creation of five new national monuments. As the RV heads home, the Live Monumental movement continues driving immense support from a passionate public responding to Teddy’s message: “It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it."
Join the movement at livemonumental.com

The ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
In our modern busy world – we all seek a place of refuge. In the northeast corner of Alaska, there is such a place – the Last Great Wilderness – otherwise known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For thousands of generations, the Gwich’in people have lived off of the Arctic Refuge, what they call “the Sacred Place Where Life Begins.” In a world that remains wholesome and beautiful – lives unique species like the musk oxen, caribou, polar bears and migratory birds. A place of refuge and wonder – but, it is under threat. At the edge of this Refuge, the world is burning – what we are taking from the land is far greater than what we are giving back. The eyes of the future are looking back at us – it is time to save this place once and for all.

The WORLD BENEATH THE RIMS
The impact of our great natural spaces on humankind has been undeniable since the days of Thomas Moran. Follow painter Bruce Aiken, writer Kevin Fedarko, and photographer Amy Martin as they are immersed in humility surrounded by the Grand Canyon’s immense power as they explore natural springs, towering vertical walls, and the silty Colorado River as it flows through one of Earth’s treasures, the Grand Canyon.
Make sure you have the right gear for your next adventure! On the SECOND WEDNESDAY of every OTHER month, join us and Team Green Adventures to learn about the latest trends in outdoor gear. After the workshop, we'll draw a door prize winner for $50 Gift Card to Cumberland Transit...

Oct. 12 6PM - Gear Workshop: Orienteering

Make sure you have the right gear for your next adventure! On the SECOND WEDNESDAY of every OTHER month, join us and Team Green Adventures to learn about the latest trends in outdoor gear. After the workshop, we'll draw a door prize winner for $50 Gift Card to Cumberland Transit (address 2807 West End Ave., Nashville, TN 37203).

On October 12, we will cover all the basics you'll need to know including:

  • Topographic maps vs. contour maps
  • How to read maps (plus some activities to test your skills)
  • GPS Coordinates & what they mean
  • How GPS devices work & how to use them
  • How to use a compass (plus some compass activities to test your skills)
  •  



    Feel free to ask questions throughout. Registers will be open late, so feel free to arrive early or stay late to browse the racks. Team Green Members can enjoy 10% off non-sales items when you show your membership card.

    Please RSVP for this event so we can get an estimate on attendance. Walk-ins are welcome.

    2016 WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
    February 10th- Winter Backpacking
    April 13th- Bikes & Cycling Gear
    June 8th- Summer Backpacking
    August 10th- Day Hiking
    October 12th- Orienteering (Maps, GPS & Compass)
    December 14th- Winter Backpacking

    Visit Team Green Adventures for more details.

    On Saturday September 17th join us for a Fly Fishing Extravaganza and Barbecue. Temple Fork Outfitters will be at Centennial Park bringing new rods to cast and demonstrating casting techniques to improve your fishing experience. This same day at noon we will be having a Barbecue in the back parking lot!...

    Sept. 17th 10AM - 3:30PM -- Fly Fishing Extravaganza and Barbecue

    On Saturday September 17th join us for a Fly Fishing Extravaganza and Barbecue. Temple Fork Outfitters will be at Centennial Park bringing new rods to cast and demonstrating casting techniques to improve your fishing experience. This same day at noon we will be having a Barbecue in the back parking lot! It's going to be a great day, so bring a friend and stop by the store!

    Centennial Park is located at 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

    Cumberland Transit is located at 2807 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

    Feel free to call our store with any questions! (615) 321-4069


    Event Itinerary:

    10:00 a.m. - Centennial Park. Introducing Edge fly rods and Temple Fork’s Impact and Clouser fly rods, by TFO representative Tom Jindra. A selection of Edge rods will be rigged and available for casting by the public.

    11:00 a.m. - Centennial Park. Demonstrations: “Tune Up Your Cast In 15 Minutes,” by TFO advisory staffer Wanda Taylor. “What About Spey?” by Tom Jindra.

    12:00 p.m. - Cumberland Transit. Barbecue.

    1:00 p.m. - Centennial Park. Demonstrations: “Tune Up Your Cast In 15 Minutes,” by Wanda Taylor. “What About Spey?” by Tom Jindra. A selection of TFO Impact rods will be rigged and available for casting by the public.

    2:30 p.m. - Centennial Park. A selection of TFO Clouser rods will be rigged and available for casting by the public.

    3:30 p.m. - Centennial Park. Conclusion.

     

    Interested in learning the basics of casting a fly rod? Ronnie Howard is an expert fly fisherman and guide and he will be holding a class teaching the basics of fly casting Saturday, May 7th at 9:00am. $10 to reserve your spot. Spots are limited so call ahead to reserve your...

    Intro to Fly Fishing May 7th 9:00am

    Interested in learning the basics of casting a fly rod? Ronnie Howard is an expert fly fisherman and guide and he will be holding a class teaching the basics of fly casting Saturday, May 7th at 9:00am.

    $10 to reserve your spot.
    Spots are limited so call ahead to reserve your spot. 615.321.4069

     

    As soon as I heard that running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim was a thing, I knew I had to do it.  It's been on my list of goals for a while now and this year I finally made it happen. Disclaimer: Running the Grand Canyon Rim to...

    Trip Report: Running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

    As soon as I heard that running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim was a thing, I knew I had to do it.  It's been on my list of goals for a while now and this year I finally made it happen.

    Disclaimer: Running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim is tough!  Although, with proper training and gear, it's not impossible.  Grand Canyon National Park sees tons of visitors in a year; so, as with any adventure in a National Park, do your best to cause as little impact as possible.  Be polite to other folks experiencing the canyon.  Just because you are running doesn't make your experience any more important than others.  Announce yourself to hikers and always yield to folks coming uphill.  Pack out everything you take down and don't forget to have fun.

    My wife and I have both worked in the outdoor industry and we have very similar gear.  One of us will purchase a nice piece of gear, the other one will be jealous and then purchase the same thing in a different color.  So when we enjoy the outdoors together, we look like a sponsored team of some sort.  We are not sponsored, but we do call ourselves "Team Thienel."

    For this particular adventure, Team Thienel flew into Phoenix and we drove North to Sedona to do some acclimating and fun running.  Sedona is an awesome place with enough Trail Running, Mountain Biking, and Rock Climbing to last a lifetime.  One of our particular favorites was Wilson Mountain.

     

    In the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, Wilson Mountain is the highest peak at 7,122 feet.  The trail leading up to the peak is steep and rugged.  We got pretty lucky and saw very few people.  Living in Nashville, we don't get many opportunities for real elevation.  Although the altitude was mild, we were feeling it in our flat-lander lungs.

    After a couple days running and eating Mexican food, we headed up to the Grand Canyon.  I had considered changing the day I would run down into Canyon because the forecast wasn't looking so hot.   Turns out the forecast was off by a day. So when we arrived it was very cold and windy.  It had been about 5 years since I had been to the Grand Canyon and I had a picture in my mind of what it looked like.  When I actually showed up and stepped up to the edge, that picture in my mind was nothing like the real thing.  This view can definitely stir up some emotion.

    We snapped a few photos, took in the view, and then headed back to the hotel to pack up and go to bed early for our 4:00am start the next day.  I really like ultra marathon races, but my favorite outdoor pursuit would be long, unsupported runs in the wilderness.  I have done plenty of long runs, but this was my first time doing 50 miles unsupported.  I tried to go as light as I safely could.  I went back and forth on whether or not I would run in my Salomon S-Lab vest or the Ultimate Direction Fast Pack 20.  I decided to go with the Salomon Vest and stay light.  The weather was perfect with a high of about 65, so I didn't need a ton of layers.

    My Gear List:

    • Petzl Nao Headlamp
    • Black Diamond Distance FLZ Trekking Poles
    • Patagonia Houdini Pullover
    • Patagonia Strider Pro Shorts
    • Patagonia Airflow Singlet
    • Patagonia Duckbill Hat
    • Defeet Wool Arm Warmers
    • Khatoola Micro Spikes
    • Spot GPS device
    • 2 Buffs
    • Suunto Ambit 2 GPS Watch
    • Icebreaker Sierra Wool Mittens 
    • Swiftwick Aspire 4 Socks
    • Altra Lone Peak 2.5 shoes
    • 2 GU Flasks 
    • 2 Camelbak insulated Podium bottles
    • Body Glide
    • As much high calorie food that would fit a gallon ziploc bag

    Some highlights to point out that made the day more comfortable:  The Petzl Nao headlamp is my favorite headlamp ever – its comfortable, brighter than I need, and the Reactive technology gives it a great battery life.  A friend let me borrow the Spot GPS device.  It has a tracking feature that allows friends and family back home to follow your progress via the web, as well as send out pre-written text messages when you so choose.  Also, if things go way bad wrong you can send out a distress signal.  I will probably purchase one of these for future long runs.  There was snow at the North Rim, but nothing to warrant the Micro Spikes, but better safe than sorry.  Body glide was my best friend, I re-applied several times to prevent chaffing.  The GU flask was perfect for this run since I needed to pack everything out.  I ate GU every hour, so this system saved me from having to pack out 10 or 15 sticky GU packets.

    Our alarm went off at 2:00am and I jumped right up with excitement.  I am usually a cranky zombie in the mornings, but on days like this I have no problem getting up. I had read that the mule trains start down the canyon at 5, hence the early start.  I also wanted to be finished before the sun went down.  We packed up our things and drove to the Bright Angel Trail head.  I chose to run the Bright Angel Trail to the North Kaibab trail and back the same way.  This route is slightly longer but not quite as steep as running the South Kaibob Trail.  My wife, Amber, was running to the river and back and we thought the Village near the Bright Angel Trail Head would be a cool place for her to wait for me (and also eat pizza).

     

    We got to the trail head and tried to take a selfie, but quickly gave up because it was dark and also 18 degrees.  It was really cool to have this part of the park, which is usually very crowded, all to ourselves.  We both had an overwhelming feeling that we were doing something wrong – like we were sneaking into the Grand Canyon or something.  My original plan was to run with her to Indian Gardens (about 5 miles), but we were having so much fun that I decided to hang back with her and run together all the way to the river.  I'm so glad I did.  We got to the river just as the sun was coming up.

     

    We said our goodbyes at Bright Angel Campground just on the other side of the river, and I headed  off for the North Rim.  The next 10 miles were beautiful and easy and I was feeling really strong.  That changed as soon as I started to climb.  I definitely underestimated how hard climbing the North Rim would be.  I knew it would be hard, but I had to do some serious work to get it done.  I had never been to the North Rim before and the views were truly spectacular.  Getting close to the serious climbing, this one was one of my favorite views:

    I topped out feeling a little slow but in overall good shape.  I knew now that I could finish strong and do the second half faster than the first.  At the North Rim Trail Head, I met a guy named Brian and his either 3 or 4 kids (after running that much details get blurry for me.)  The youngest of his kids was 5 and they were doing R2R2R in 3 days.  Pretty cool! I wish I could have done that when I was 5!  Brian's girlfriend had opted to stay in the Cottonwood Campground closer to the bottom rather than hike all the way to the North Rim.  Brian was nice enough to take my picture and, in return, I would deliver a message to Dawn, his girlfriend, that he and the boys would be back down later that afternoon.  So I finished my snack and headed back.

     

    One of the real challenges was planning where to fill up with water.  Most folks choose to run it a little later in the year, more like late April or May instead of late March .  The North Rim doesn't open until May 15th.  You can always check the back country office for updated water availability so you can plan accordingly.  Because of the cool weather (high of around 65), I was able to get away with not filling up at the North Rim.  If it was any hotter, I would have taken some sort of water filtration.

    The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  As I got closer, I tried to push it to go faster so Amber wouldn't have to wait as long (and maybe she would have a piece of pizza and a coke waiting for me.)  For me, the later hours of an ultra seem to pass very quickly.  It seems like every time I looked at my watch another hour had passed, and it was time to eat again.  I had a few really dark moments, but I forced my self to sit down, empty the sand from my shoes, and eat something.  Then I told myself that I chose to do this, it's fun, and this is a really beautiful place.  As I got closer to the South Rim, I started seeing more and more people.  By the time I got to the top, I had to push through a crowd to reach Amber.  It took 13.5 hours total, but to me it seemed like only a couple of hours had passed.  This is one of my favorite experiences ever, I really liked the fact that I could see most of the trail that I ran when I finished.  Maybe next year I will do R2R2R2R2R...

     

    Wind whips across my cheek making my delicate position seem more precarious. It feels like a maelstrom compared to the enjoyable breeze I experienced on the hike to the base of this sea of granite. I glance over to spot a weakness in the rock. My hip cramps as I...

    Lessons Learned While off the Ground

    Wind whips across my cheek making my delicate position seem more precarious. It feels like a maelstrom compared to the enjoyable breeze I experienced on the hike to the base of this sea of granite. I glance over to spot a weakness in the rock. My hip cramps as I hike my left leg up and stab desperately towards a small edge.

                A few hours prior, this edge was of no importance to me. I was not even aware of the existence of this small grey seam. Now, in the present moment, nothing else matters. A few miles of hiking and scanning over the topo maps of the wall did not promote any conversation about this fold. Even studying the pitch by pitch breakdown did not leave me thinking twice about it. The duality of present moment focus neighboring a huge amount of awareness creates a fire and ice reaction that I find incredibly addicting. Weeks of planning, watching the weather, reading trip reports, and the expectations created during the approach all clear like a heavy fog as soon as your feet leave the ground. Nothing else in my experience brings life's duality so close to the surface. However, this partnership provides a glimpse to the dualism I find in the rest of the world. Loneliness and companionship. Rich and poor. Depression and elation. Good and evil.

                The left foot opens up a realm of possibilities. It provides access to a myriad of handholds. A calming assurance flows through me as I drive off the foothold up to a large shelf in the rock. In a moment, the the importance of the foot will have disappeared from my consciousness. This progression and flow of time reflect the movement that happens in our life. Movement is inescapable. We may drag our nails and stamp our feet, but movement happens nonetheless. The sages among us have learned not to fight it, but to harness it like a skilled sailor does with the wind.

                The next handhold looks promising. I twist my hips and hug close to the wall to maximize my reach. My fingers find greasy polished rock. My stomach turns and I am airborne. The indifference of the rock actual comes as a comfort to me, once again a parallel to the rest of life. The mountain does not decide when to unleash an avalanche. A storm cell does not wait until you reach the crux pitch to erupt in a thunderstorm. The hold did not shrink in size and become greasy during my moment of need. The only force that I can pilot is my own

                I pull my weary body to a small ledge. I spend a brief moment locating several cracks and then dig through my gear to find the appropriate piece of protection. The rope feels heavy as I pull up slack to the belay. Normally, belays feels like a safe haven. The difficulty of the pitch below has been conquered. The ledge and equalized anchor mean protection until the next push into the unknown. My mind and body take a brief rest as I belay my partner up. However, despite the rest and safety there is always one belay where I feel so lost. I want nothing more than solid ground. I want my harness to be hanging in my gear closet instead of chafing my waist. I want a cheeseburger.

    As more and more slack piles across my lap, the impending certainty of the next pitch grows. In that moment, I want escape. There is so much work ahead, so much work that has already been done. I want to quit. My partner reaches the ledge, jarring about the quality of movement in the last pitch and his elation to have arrived at the station. I gaze at the next pitch, check my knot, sigh heavily, and begin moving upwards yet again. This feeling is one that comes all too often in life. The things we love and that make us come alive can easily be viewed as a chore minutes later. The wear and tear of life can corrode our greatest treasures, but, only if we let it

                Everything just flows. My head and emotions have re-centered themselves. Instinct takes over and moving up this sheer rock face has become as easy as floating downstream a gentle river. The original difficulty I felt in leaving the belay ledge has become completely unfounded. Such is the case in the rest of my life. Shedding off the wear and tear and hindrances is one of the things at the core of the human element. Often this does not resemble an act of hero, rather, it looks more like someone rolling out of bed. However, before you can blink we are off the floor and wide awake. Taking this "first step" becomes easier after repeatedly going through this process.

                The sun is barely starting to touch the pines on the ridge to the west of the summit. I stare out. Both the awareness and focus can rest. Movement keeps going despite my accomplishment, and despite my feeling of rest. The mountain does not feel conquered, nor does it applaud my labors. Everything is done, and it was done for it's own sake. This is perhaps my favorite thing about climbing and perhaps something that draws me towards writing. There is no prize, fame, or any other form of rewards. There are lessons learned and memories made. These are the reasons I climb. These are the reasons that I write. These are the reasons that I love. These are the things worth living for.

     

    ---Keith Erps is one of our ambassadors on loan to the Pacific Northwest for an undetermined amount of time.  While there he likes to ride bikes, climb mountains, and drink really good coffee.

    Having fun is the point of the day.  Making memories is what its all about.  Today is not the day for a teaching moment.  Not the day for being critical about manners. Not the day to be a parent, at least in front of your kids.  Today is the day to  be a kid again.  Get on the sled.  Go faster than you are comfortable with going.  Make snow angels, then stay there and let your kids bury you in the snow.  These are quick cold moments in your day, but are unforgettable moments that your kids will hopefully remember for a lifetime.

    How to Survive and Thrive During Snow Days

     

     

    How to Survive and Thrive During Snow Days

     

    Big Kids and Little Kids

     

    By TJ Wilt 

     

    Snow Days are one of the greatest memories as a child.  What about when you become a parent and you have children of your own?  They still are the best memories but responsibility gets in the way of you letting loose…completely.  Snow is not planned; snow is not forgiving and able to reschedule so being prepared prior to that phone call at 4am or the email the night before is tricky.  I am a little luckier than some, I have 3 boys so as one grows out of a winter jacket the next can grow into it.  This of course does not apply to the pre-teen that grows 5 inches in 6 months.  However, he can almost fit into my clothes and definitely his mothers. Below are some of my thoughts from experience that might come in handy. 

     

     

    BREAKFAST

    Always key to any big day of adventure are snow balls, snow men or snow women, sledding, crying,
    freezing, a little bruising, a lot of laughter, some resting and a whole lot of fun is a good hearty breakfast.  EAT.  A lot of people skip this meal but it is critical to compete with your  kids energy.  Skipping breakfast should never be an option.  If there is ever a day for the full eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes,  waffles, fruit, biscuits and gravy, OJ, cereal and oatmeal this is the day.  Go all out!! We all know the possibility of getting to another meal before the sun sets is not likely.  

     

    Ready…Set…. SNOW

    Its cold, wet and it finds itself into your kids clothes especially when they are having fun.  So expect to see some tears mixed with the smiles.  

     

     

     

     

    SLEDS

    Go round up your sleds.  Use anything you can get your hands on.  We had some old plastic saucers in the basement and still resorted to trashcan lids, trash bags and sometimes even cardboard boxes.  So don’t spend a lot of time stressing because the more creative you are the more fun for the kids.

     

    SNACKS

    Almost as critical as breakfast.  Being outdoors and being active is a choice and choosing means preparing.  Snack bars are the easiest most efficient way to be prepared.   Gels are an option, but honestly, there are not many kids that will take down a gel pack like runners and cyclists.  Just throw some meal or snack bars in a backpack and call it a day.  Water is critical too. Just as important as it would be for a trail run or ride on the bike.  Water bottles are light and easy to refill.  Just throw a couple in the pack.  

     

    FUN

    Having fun is the point of the day.  Making memories is what its all about.  Today is not the day for a teaching moment.  Not the day for being critical about manners. Not the day to be a parent, at least in front of your kids.  Today is the day to  be a kid again.  Get on the sled.  Go faster than you are comfortable with going.  Make snow angels, then stay there and let your kids bury you in the snow.  These are quick cold moments in your day, but are unforgettable moments that your kids will hopefully remember for a lifetime.  The two most important tactics for staying in good graces with your kids during these memorable moments: 

    1. Get involved 
    2. Let loose 

    So basically if you can be a kid again, DO IT!!

     

     

    SLEEP

    Yes, they will sleep.  Maybe not before you fall asleep, but they will fall asleep right next to you in bed if you are lucky and that will be the finale of a day that was lived to the fullest. 

     Enjoy the snow and know next time you get that email, phone call or twitter feed letting you know that tomorrow includes an unscheduled day off… you will be prepared and ready to take on the FUN.  

     

    My picks for the best snow day survival items:

    1. Patagonia Better Sweater - my go-to mid layer for any cold weather
    2. The North Face Summit Series - The L5 layer as your shell will keep the cold out completely
    3. Grab the Gold Snack Bar - Made in Tennessee, just like me
    4. Suunto Ambit2 -  A little overkill for a snow day but I have had a Suunto for almost 10 years now as my watch and would not choose any other
    5. Kammok Gear Roo Hammock - of course at some point you have to relax and why not strap onto a tree right by the sledding hill
    6. YETI 20oz Rambler - Who could forget your beverage, hot or cold, its hard to pass the Yeti Rambler
    THE BARKLEY MARATHONS: THE RACE THAT EATS ITS YOUNG   Join the Crazy Owls Trail Running Group at Cumberland Transit on Thursday, January 28th for a screening of this award-winning documentary!   Location: Cumberland Transit- 2807 West End Avenue Doors will open at 6:30. The film will start at 7:00....

    Barkley Marathons Documentary Screening Nashville- January 28th @ 7 PM

    THE BARKLEY MARATHONS: THE RACE THAT EATS ITS YOUNG
     
    Join the Crazy Owls Trail Running Group at Cumberland Transit on Thursday, January 28th for a screening of this award-winning documentary!
     
    Location: Cumberland Transit- 2807 West End Avenue
    Doors will open at 6:30. The film will start at 7:00. Free popcorn and drinks!
     
    There will be a $5 admission fee. Tickets may be purchased through Ultra Signup or at the door if there are seats left. Proceeds will benefit Friends of Warner Parks.
     
    Film Synopsis:
    Every year, 40 international runners descend upon a small town in Tennessee to test their mental and physical limits against the Barkley Marathons. Devised as a mockery of James Earl Ray’s historic prison escape gone awry, the race has seen only 10 finishers in its first 25 years. The race’s co-founder Lazarus Lake is as weird, unpredictable, and irresistible a character as the idiosyncratic event he has created. With a secret application process, unknown start time, and treacherous terrain, the Barkley has gained cult-like status with ultra-runners and amateurs alike. This award-winning, oddly inspiring, and wildly funny documentary invites you to the sports world’s most guarded secret; where pain has value, failure is spectacular, and it only costs $1.60.
     
     
    Two weekends ago, just after turning 45, I finally had the opportunity to go to “camp.” I was never able to attend camp as a kid, and the Cumberland Transit Trail Running Retreat was my birthday gift to myself.   My friend Cheryl Moss and I left Clarksville around 4:00...

    CHICKS LIKE ME: CT TRAIL RUNNING RETREAT REVIEW

    Two weekends ago, just after turning 45, I finally had the opportunity to go to “camp.” I was never able to attend camp as a kid, and the Cumberland Transit Trail Running Retreat was my birthday gift to myself.

     

    My friend Cheryl Moss and I left Clarksville around 4:00 p.m. for the hour and twenty-minute drive down country roads to Lyles, TN, which is somewhere near Dickson. I was glad to have one of us driving and one of us navigating! The retreat center was a bit off the beaten path, but the Cumberland Transit folks had placed signs at several important turns, which turned out to be very helpful.

     

    The retreat center was gorgeous.

     

     

    Cheryl and I checked in and found out we were assigned to the BIG basement bunk room with 20 other ladies. We were lucky enough to get bottom bunks.

     

     

    I was honestly a little apprehensive about 22 of us sharing one room with only two full bathrooms, but it worked out fine. In fact, I think being in that room allowed me to make many more friends than I would have otherwise.

     

    Dinner that first night was outstanding, probably my favorite meal there. We had acorn squash stuffed with jamabalaya. I chose the meat version, and Cheryl had the vegetarian version. We both enjoyed kale salads on the side.

     

    After dinner, I went downstairs to the bunk room, and about 10 of us, all total strangers, sat in a circle and just talked. We chatted about running and nutrition and parenting. We talked about races we had done in the past and what we were training for. We had an immediate camaraderie. As I sat there talking with these women, I couldn’t help but think,“These are my people. They get it.”

     

    At 10:30, the lights were turned out. We had an early morning run planned. I had hoped to sleep, but I found that I just couldn’t quite fall asleep or stay asleep. (That’s my own fault for choosing a bed near the bathroom!)

     

    A light breakfast was served the next morning, and then we hit the trails. We could choose a 3-mile, 5-mile, or 10-mile run. I chose to run five miles. The trails were still lush and green for the most part and were surprisingly hilly! Steep hills greeted us every few minutes. I have a hilly half marathon coming up, so it was good training!

     

     

    The support on the run was great. We had a run leader and a sweeper for every distance, so no one could possibly be left behind. There was an extremely well-stocked aid station with gels, water, sports drink, and even some real food.

     

    After the run, we had brunch with a very filling egg and spinach casserole. Again, the food was excellent. Then it was time to break into small groups for clinics. There were clinics on cooking and nutrition, stand-up paddleboarding, and running form. Around noon, we had a giant group yoga session. That was the first time I’ve ever done 80 minutes of yoga! (photo courtesy of Cumberland Transit)

     

    After yoga, a light salad was served that was both vegan and gluten-free. I will say I ate healthier this weekend that I have on any weekend in recent memory!

     

    Then it was my turn to stand-up paddleboard! I had only done it once before, so I was a little nervous. Our instructor was fabulous. She was so energetic and gave excellent instructions. It was obvious she loved the sport! This is the end of our one-hour lesson. Our group was great. No one fell into the water. (photo courtesy of Brooke Widmer with Soulshine SUP in Nashville)

     

    After paddleboarding, I took some Merrell running shoes and some Altra running shoes for short test runs. I also scored some free stuff from the reps! I left the retreat with both a Merrell buff and an Altra buff (so versatile!), a Merrell hat and water bottle, and Altra socks, plus a small North Face swag bag.

     

    That evening, we had a huge meal of delicious bbq from a local joint, plus tons of vegan and gluten-free sides. As a gluten-intolerant gal, I really appreciated these options.

     

    For our entertainment that evening, we had wine, beer, and motivational running videos. I left this weekend more motivated to run than I have been in a while! The videos we watched were incredibly inspiring.

     

    That evening, I think everyone slept better. Miles of running, nearly an hour and a half of yoga, and an hour of stand-up paddleboarding will have that effect!

     

    Finally, on Sunday morning, we left on our final group run. A few of us chose to make up our own route and explored the acres and acres of the retreat center. Splashing through a creek on a cool summer morning with like-minded women was so much fun.

     

    We had a huge brunch after the run, and then it was time to pack up and leave. I said my goodbyes to the amazing women I had met, promising to see them on the trails in the future. In fact, this weekend, I hope to reconnect with a couple of them at a trail race in Dickson.

     

    This retreat was so well done. The organizers did an incredible job serving great food, planning fun and educational activities, and giving us a BREAK from the real world.

     

    The women in attendance were smart, kind, accomplished, and like-minded. Some were experienced trail runners, some were novices; others were triathletes, weight lifters, paddleboarders, and yogis. There were teachers, nurses, doctors, bankers, stay-at-home moms, and fitness industry professionals. ALL were friendly and encouraging.

     

    It was nice to spend a weekend in the woods, no make up, hair in a ponytail, being active and eating nutritious foods with chicks like me.

     

    Post by: Donna Pittman

    For anyone with an adventurer’s heart, or even a bad case of wanderlust, the ceaseless hum of an urban environment can sometimes become too much to handle. After my old ’89 Ford Bronco II, lovingly named Becky, decided she needed a new fuel pump in early June, I was forced...

    OCOEE RIVER BOUND!

    For anyone with an adventurer’s heart, or even a bad case of wanderlust, the ceaseless hum of an urban environment can sometimes become too much to handle. After my old ’89 Ford Bronco II, lovingly named Becky, decided she needed a new fuel pump in early June, I was forced to stay close to home. There are plenty of things to keep one busy in this town, but, after two months of confinement to the urban landscape, I needed an escape. No longer than two days after my beloved truck was repaired, I headed out with my friend Tim for a well-overdue adventure. We loaded Becky down with some whitewater boats, our mountain bikes, and all of the essentials to spend my birthday weekend in the woods.

     

     

    Ocoee River bound, we jammed to some good tunes and talked over the river beta we could remember from our last run down. The Tanasi Trail System runs adjacent to the river, so we planned for two days of morning rides and afternoon paddling to cool off from the brutal August sun. The river was gushing from the dam when we arrived. We knew they had also released the dam above the Upper Ocoee, which runs at a solid Class III+/IV and includes the 1996 Olympic section used for the dual slalom event. Since neither one of us is too smooth in a boat, we opted to run the more familiar Middle Ocoee, which still boasts some stout rapids at Class III.  But first, we hit the trail before the afternoon heat cranked up.

     

     

    The trails that make up the Tanasi trial system are some of my favorite in Tennessee. Just west of the North Carolina border, the elevation kicks up quickly and makes for some punchy climbs and short, steep descents. Both of us were aboard our steel hardtails and felt great ripping through the rocky, rooty riverside terrain. We were able to burn about 8 miles of trail in just over an hour and a half. One of which included the Thunder Rock trail. This one-way spur was the most talked-about descent in the area. As we clipped in to head down, I was only able to get in two pedal strokes before a pin in my chain popped out, leaving me more than disappointed and a little worried that our plans for a ride the next day might be ruined. I decided to make the most of the trail ahead of me and kicked my bike scooter-style down the trail until I found enough momentum to carry me through the turns. I couldn’t help but dream that I was World Cup Downhill Champion Aaron Gwin on his famous chainless championship run from last season. I made my way down, clumsily kicking for extra speed when I had the chance and doing my best to lay off of the brakes. When I made it to the bottom, Tim and I both shared a laugh about my bum ride and coasted back to the car to gear up for our run down the river.

     

    We ran into some old friends from our Wilderness First Responder class we had taken the year before, and decided to put on with them so we could try out some new lines. It didn’t take long for us to realize that this crew was way out of our league. All of them were instructors in some capacity at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, and they could handle their boats. After we both took a crack at their lines, we decided we had better stay above water for the rest of the day and forget trying to keep up with those guys. From there on out it was smooth sailing. We cruised down the rest of the river, both making it to the other side of Tablesaw, the longest and most daunting rapid on the river.

     

     

    Once we took off of the river, it was time for a hot meal and a few brews. We cruised up a dirt road until we found a spot that was tailor-made for a couple of hammocks and a campfire. We kept it simple when it came to dinner. There’s nothing better than fire-roasted brats to put some calories back in an empty stomach.

     

     

    The next day dawned with that unmistakable smell of mountain air, and the certainty of an adventure to be had. We got in another two-hour ride (thanks to a quicklink in my chain) and one more push down the river. The sun shone bright in the Tennessee sky and we managed to keep our gear and our bodies intact this go ‘round.  By the time we hit the final takeout, I was burned, sore, bruised, and happier than I had been in weeks. Sometimes it just takes a little escape and some good company to put the world right again.

     

     

    Post by:  Jake Lee

      Cumberland Transit has been a Nashville staple since 1971.  If you ask a native Nashvillian where to go to find quality outdoor gear and knowledgeable staff, they will inevitably tell you to head to Cumberland Transit on West End.  They either know, Allen “The Godfather”, Ronnie “Grumpy”, or “Bungalow...

    THE CUMBERLAND TRANSIT EXPERIENCE

     

    Cumberland Transit has been a Nashville staple since 1971.  If you ask a native Nashvillian where to go to find quality outdoor gear and knowledgeable staff, they will inevitably tell you to head to Cumberland Transit on West End.  They either know, Allen “The Godfather”, Ronnie “Grumpy”, or “Bungalow Bill” in footwear.  CT is a perfect example of a successful locally owned business.  It is the exact opposite of big box stores and franchised businesses.   At CT we consider Nashville our family.  Just like a regular family, you take care of your loved ones and as part of our family, we want to take care of you.  This means that we aren’t trying to sell you gear you don’t need or don’t want.  If we don’t have what you need and can’t order it, by all means go to a competitor and take care of yourself.  We believe that a successful business is not about selling the most products, but reaching your customers on a deeper level and building a relationship of trust.  If we can do this, we trust that you will come back even if it is just to say hello.  Every week we get people coming in the store who got their first bike from us and are now buying one for their son or daughter.  These are the kind of relationships we cherish.  


    If you have the time, we want you to leave the store more knowledgeable than when you opened the door.  We staff each section with experts who have years of experience.  Our staff includes road and off-road bike racers, yoga instructors, rock climbing guides, ski instructors, Appalachian Trail thru hikers, fly fishing guides, ice climbers, and this just scratches the surface.  If you know what you need and want to get in and out fast, then we will gladly point you in the right direction.  Otherwise, we use the gear we sell and are more than happy to talk about it and share our knowledge.  We don’t want you to just survive your next adventure, but thrive having the knowledge and the best gear possible.  Please come in and check us out whether you are just visiting or are a Nashville native.  Check us out on Facebook and as always stay venture ready!

     

    Until next time,

    Phil

    What do you do when you have an unexpected snow or ice day?  You find adventure wherever possible.  In the South, we are rightly cautious and excited when snow comes our way and we literally don’t know how to act when everything freezes.  Luckily, I learned from some of the...

    Mill Creek Snow Canoeing

     

     

    You wouldn’t believe how heavy a canoe is when it is covered with a sheet of ice!  Luckily, it was easy to push along the ground.  This location is around Petus road and is an excellent put in spot because there is parking and a little path that is wide enough for your canoe.  Just out of sight were some steps to easily walk down to the creek’s edge.  With a couple of pushes and delicately getting into the canoe, we were officially canoeing during winter storm Octavia.  

     

     

    There is really something quite beautiful about paddling through icy water.  It looks really quiet, but the area was actually teeming with life.  Among the different creatures we encountered were  Kingfishers, Cardinals, and ducks.  Throughout our journey we kept catching up to a few ducks who were probably annoyed by our consistent following.  They got a little rest though because we were easily bogged down by shallow sections.  We thought everything was going well until….

     

    Suddenly the creek was only about 4 inches deep requiring portaging.  Turns out that portaging on frozen ground is more fun than a chore.  The canoe easily slides across the ground.  It gave us a chance to stretch our legs a bit and imbibe a spirit or two.  

     

     

    After working pretty hard and getting warm, we were able to have a little reprieve in the straights.  We finally had smooth sailing.  Eventually we had to keep moving so our hands wouldn’t freeze.

     

    It wouldn’t have been an adventure without a little more solid snow and ice to work through during the last bend.  Several people were taking our picture no doubt thinking we were crazy wanting to canoe during a winter storm.  After loading the canoe back on the car, we head home for some well deserved hot chocolate.  

    Happy Adventures!  Check us out on Facebook

     

    Phil Fair

    After spending the last 6 years working in Utah and taking advantage of the infinite outdoor adventure opportunities, I’ve moved to Nashville to start another chapter in my life. The 1,631 mile drive was not the first time I’ve traveled across the country to search for new life experiences. It...

    Phil's Finds

    After spending the last 6 years working in Utah and taking advantage of the infinite outdoor adventure opportunities, I’ve moved to Nashville to start another chapter in my life. The 1,631 mile drive was not the first time I’ve traveled across the country to search for new life experiences. It was a little nerve racking, and there was plenty of apprehension & second guessing. Still, absolutely every time I’ve gone outside my comfort zone and taken a risk, it has been rewarded with inner growth, wonderful new friends, beautiful and different scenery, and exciting opportunities.

     

     


    Upon arriving in Nashville, I immediately wondered who the adventurers were, what they were doing and where were they doing it. Nashville is known for a lot of things but not as a mecca for high outdoor adventure. Everyone I asked talked about Chattanooga, Asheville, and Red River Gorge as the closest places to find high adventure. But, with a full time job and limited free time, I then asked the question, what can we do right here? The common answer is typically, “not much.” Then I think and skeptically ask “why not?” I realize that there aren’t mountains and roaring rivers like Colorado, or picturesque slot canyons like Utah and Arizona, but we must have the opportunity for adventure. We have to be more creative in how we seek our outdoor thrills because we don’t have huge expanses of open land. In a city of foodies, up and coming musicians, dive and hip new bars, the adventurer has to look at the world in a different way to find their outlets. It could be anything from trail running, slack lining in your backyard, rappelling some local cliffs, or attempting to boulder a large rock you find while hiking. The adventures are here, but we have to search through the urban expanse to spot them.

     


    This past week I found my first adventure in the Nashville area. People had told me about some cliffs by the Cumberland River where you can rappel and even do a little bit of climbing. I was a little skeptical, but always open to exploring new areas. Since it has been months since I’ve been rappelling, I, of course, had to make sure that all my climbing gear was set and organized (in case my new acquaintances were right). Remember, plan ahead and prepare so that you are ready for anything. For that matter, be careful to assess your own abilities and don’t even attempt an effort like this until you get proper training and the right safety equipment.

     

    Every travelogue mentions how it’s about the journey and not the destination, but can’t it be both? I came to this place to rappel and ended up finding an environment that looked more like Ireland than one you’d find within a 30 minute drive of Nashville. Just look at these beautiful unspoiled clumps of soft green moss in the middle of winter!

     

    Here I’m preparing for descent down the cliff. If you look closely you can see the remnants of a fire showing others have ventured here before me and have possibly experienced how wonderful food tastes out in the open. Chacos on, water knots tied, and an equalized anchor, I was almost ready for my adventure to begin.

     

    Just out of sight of this picture is one more ledge to stand on. It’s actually the perfect transition into rappelling. Fortunately for me, it was necessary so that I could safely check to make sure that my rope hit the ground. Luckily I had about 15 feet to spare, making this a 135’ rappel. Always make sure your rope hits the ground before you start your descent.

     

    This rappel is going to be a little different during the summer. Can you guess why? Not sure if this is kudzu, but it’s going to be a bit more problematic getting through this leafed out growth during the summer. The main beta (technical tips) for this rappel is to kick out just before getting to the ivy and rappel really quickly until you are past it.

     

    Just as we were calling it a day and getting ready to head home, we were rewarded with the site of this huge and silent barge that happened to be passing by. It was a true reminder of the power of nature. The Cumberland River carved the cliffs that we just rappelled and continues to provide an effective means of commercial transport to this day.

     

    Technical Gear

    Bluewater II 7/16” Static Rope 150’

    Bluewater 1” Tubular Webbing 50’

    Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet

    Black Diamond ATC-XP Belay/Rappel Device

    Black Diamond RockLock Carabiner

    Black Diamond Super 8 Belay/Rappel Device 2014

    Patagonia Down Sweater

    Chaco Z/2 Unaweep Sandal

     

    Until the next find,

     

    Phil Fair

      When my husband and I traveled across the country to spend a few days in Yosemite National Park, we expected seclusion, quiet, and a departure from reality. Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for how populated and tourist-heavy the park would be in Yosemite Village. After two days and one night...

    TWO NIGHTS IN TUOLUMNE MEADOWS, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

     

    When my husband and I traveled across the country to spend a few days in Yosemite National Park, we expected seclusion, quiet, and a departure from reality. Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for how populated and tourist-heavy the park would be in Yosemite Village. After two days and one night seeking solace on busy trails and mountain overlooks, we headed to Tuolumne Meadows for part two of our Yosemite experience.

     

    It’s only about 54 miles from Yosemite Village to the meadows, but it takes at least 1.5 hours to get there. If you’re the type who gets carsick (like me), get ready for winding mountain roads with not shortage of twists and turns. After climbing from 4,000 feet to 8,000 feet elevation, we finally reached our campsite at the Tuolumne Meadows campground. Since it was starting to get dark, we headed straight for our site to unpack and get set up.

     

     

    The campground is rustic with dirt roads and no access to electricity. For us, it was perfect. We had plenty of fellow campers, but once night fell, we could hardly see them. The campground is near dozens of trailheads, mountain lakes, streams, and meadows. In other words, there’s plenty to do.

     

    At 8,000 feet elevation, the temperature dropped dramatically at nightfall. To our relief, our 30-degree sleeping bags proved to be worth the extra cost. The next day, we sought out a plan for where to hike. We only had time to try out one trail, but we picked out one for next time, too:

     

    Lembert Dome Trail. This was the trail we chose for our early morning hike. It was perfect. Our legs were shot after a strenuous hike the previous day, and this path was short, but difficult enough to keep us interested. The 1.4-mile trail leads hikers to the top of Lembert Dome, where you’re rewarded with panoramic views of the valley floor. We spent an hour at the top making new friends and taking lots of pictures before turning back. (2.8 miles round trip, moderate).

     

     

    Cathedral Lake Trail. If we had more time, this would have been the trail of our choosing. The 7-mile trail leads hikers up a 1,000-foot elevation gain, which provides incredible views of Cathedral Lake. The entire hike takes about 6 hours, and it’s one of the busiest trails in Tuolumne Meadows. (7 miles round trip, moderate).

    After we descended Lembert Dome, we headed to Tenaya Lake to hang out on the shore and eat some lunch. This photo pretty much speaks for itself:

     

    At sunset, we wandered into the Tuolumne Meadows to watch for wildlife and watch the sun sink behind the mountain ranges. Unfortunately, we didn’t actually see any wildlife, but when we heard a pack of wild coyotes howling, we decided to head out before they came to find us.

     

     

    I wouldn’t necessarily change how much time we spent in Yosemite: We managed to do and see a lot in 3 days, and we wanted to check out King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks before headed back to Tennessee. But next time, we’ll carve out more time for hiking and exploring in the Tuolumne area. It was the trip we were after: seclusion, quiet, no cell phone service, and plenty of time to sit and stare off in the distance. Our neighbors at the campground were fly fishermen, climbers, backpackers, and serious hikers. Our beginner’s approach to camping and hiking definitely put us in the minority. And that’s a fun place to be when you’re out in the wild.

    by Megan Pacella When my husband and I were invited to a wedding near Los Angeles, we immediately started brainstorming ways to turn the wedding trip into a backpacking trip. After lots of planning and researching, we decided to fly into San Francisco, rent a car, and drive to Los...

    CAMPING AND HIKING IN YOSEMITE VALLEY

    by Megan Pacella

    When my husband and I were invited to a wedding near Los Angeles, we immediately started brainstorming ways to turn the wedding trip into a backpacking trip. After lots of planning and researching, we decided to fly into San Francisco, rent a car, and drive to Los Angeles by way of three National Parks. First on our list was Yosemite.

     

    To avoid elevation sickness, we decide to start out by camping at Yosemite Valley (approximately 4,000 feet) before moving up to Tuolumne Meadows (approximately 8,700 feet). When we arrived to our campsite at North Pines campground, we were a little disappointed to find that it was full of RV campers. With plenty of electricity available, the site never got dark, and we didn’t really feel like we were in the woods yet.

     

    The valley is great if you’re doing a major backpacking trip and you want to end your time in the park with a shower, a hot meal, and a cold beer. Since we spent our first two days there, we weren’t ready to have all the comforts of home just yet. This isn’t the place for you if you want a rustic, secluded retreat to Yosemite.

     

    To get away from our fellow tourists, we decided to try a few different hikes. Here are our picks for great, moderate to strenuous hiking trails in Yosemite Valley:

     

    Vernal Fall Trail. Avoid the lower trail completely. It’s a paved path that takes about 20 minutes to complete, and you’ll be surrounded by iPhones and cameras the entire time. The upper trail offers better views and secluded areas—however, the falls are completely dry by the end of summer. This is a great trail for spring and winter hiking when the snowmelt has produced an incredible waterfall. It’s easy to get to the trailhead: Just hop on the shuttle and get off at stop Happy Isles, stop number 16. 4.8 miles (round trip), moderate.

     

    Four-Mile Trail. This is one of the best ways to get sweeping views of the entire valley. From Four Mile Trail, you’ll catch views of El Capitan and Half Dome, as well as several lesser-known mountain ranges and the valley below. It’s not a long hike, but it’s tough. During the four-mile hike, you’ll climb about 3,200 feet on switchbacks and rocky terrain. Around the 3-mile mark, Union Point provides a great resting area and overlook, but I’d recommend completing the rest of the trail and making your way to the top. The way down is faster, but hiking poles are highly recommended. 4.8 miles (one way), strenuous.

     

    There are so many great trails that it was hard to stick with two, but time didn’t allow us to spend any more time in the valley. Next time we visit, we hope to attempt these two trails:

     

    Half Dome. Hiking Half Dome involves some advanced physical training to prepare your body for a long day of hiking and strenuous climbing. The 14- to 16-mile round trip trail takes hikers anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to complete, so most people start around sunrise. The trail takes hikers up almost 5,000 feet, so the views are worth the trip. We would have attempted the hike if I hadn’t found out I was pregnant shortly before our vacation (whoops!). 14 to 16 miles (round trip), strenuous.

     

    Snow Creek Trail. This is supposed to be a pretty grueling hike that starts out on the valley floor and climbs up 2,700 feet to the rim of Tenaya Canyon. Parking isn’t available at the trailhead, so plan to park at Curry Village and take a shuttle to the trail. Once you’re there, allow about 8 hours to complete the hike. It gets hot as you climb, so prepare with plenty of water. 9.4 miles (round trip), strenuous.   

     

    After a day and a half in the valley, it was time for us to retreat to Tuolumne Meadows, where the crowd thinned out and our camping conditions were rustic. But that’s for another post on another day. In the meantime, here are some shots of our time in the valley:

     


    Our view from the Yosemite Valley floor.

     


    Another view from the valley floor.

     


    We stopped for a rest about one mile in on Four Mile Trail.

     


    This is what you’ll see after climbing about 1,000 feet on Four Mile Trail.

     


    Overlooking Yosemite Valley from about 6,000 feet.

     


    The view from Union Point on Four Mile Trail.

     


    Standing on the edge of Union Point.

    By Jeanett Szyszka   While dropping a chai tea pod into the Verismo machine this morning and watching it brew in less than 30 seconds, my mind began to fantasize of last fall when nothing needed to be so immediate. Upon waking up at 6 a.m., I threw on my...

    A CAR CAMPER’S MORNING DAY DREAM

    By Jeanett Szyszka

     

    While dropping a chai tea pod into the Verismo machine this morning and watching it brew in less than 30 seconds, my mind began to fantasize of last fall when nothing needed to be so immediate. Upon waking up at 6 a.m., I threw on my headlamp after a nice long stretch in the tent, boiled some water to stir up two hot mochas, and woke my partner before she missed nature’s good morning.

     

    As we sat in our camp chairs watching the sunrise with our best friend and guardian, Cole, I couldn’t help but think we had found our favorite camping spot at Mousetail Landing State Park in Linden, Tenn.

     

     

    Once the coffee set in and our breakfast of champions was consumed (sweet potato hash, eggs, and bacon) we suited up Cole and hit the trails. On the way there, we stopped at the park office to grab some maps and also learned about the Civil War history of Mousetail. There were several adventures to pick from, but we chose the 3 Mile Day Use Hike since our pup gets worn out pretty quickly.

     

     

    Some trips I decide not to take my camera on the trail, letting the experience be a shared moment between our family and focusing only on our time together. The second my foot touched the moss trails of Mousetail, I felt my imagination pull into a world of dragons, castles, and tiny elves. In reality, there are lots of Black Racer snakes who also enjoy the squishy, cool path, so keep your eyes peeled or your dog might try to make an unwanted new friend.

     

     

    Words cannot describe the wonder of this park. You should consider staying here for a weekend if you’re looking for a quiet campsite with boating, hiking, picnicking, and bike paths. You’ll leave with a list of things to do next time and a craving for the Tennessee River wind.

    By Aubrey Moore   Being fast on a bicycle just feels good. Maybe it’s a deeply embedded competitive nature or just the raw thrill of speed. My bicycle has been a useful tool for me the past eight years of my life for a myriad of reasons, whether it be...

    GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR BIKE RIDES

    By Aubrey Moore

     

    Being fast on a bicycle just feels good. Maybe it’s a deeply embedded competitive nature or just the raw thrill of speed. My bicycle has been a useful tool for me the past eight years of my life for a myriad of reasons, whether it be reflection, exploration, exercise, or a need to compete. The relative goals of two different riders can vary by an order or magnitude, but the feeling of accomplishment is fundamental to the sport.

    When I was a squirrelly young junior, I spent days after school riding my bike. At that time in my life it gave me the sense of independence and freedom that your typical after school activity just couldn’t match. It wasn’t long before I found myself pinning on a number and nervously clipping in to the sound of a start gun. Those weekends spent in depressing hotels and getting up at the crack of dawn for a continental breakfast of limited variety were a constant through my adolescence. I learned a lot about the value of structure and consistency. 

    I moved through racing categories in a pragmatic manner that challenged me to keep searching for my potential.  I’ve experimented with a lot of different training methods and had varying results. You can have a more organic training style in which racing is your intensity and the rest of the time is spent in group rides. I reaped the biggest benefits from a carefully planned out schedule that included short, intense intervals on a trainer combined with steady base miles. I’ve had a lot of mentorship and coaching that helped me along the way. Patrick Harkins deserves a mention. His approach challenged me to realize that every mile per hour of speed I had in me. I began to monitor my diet and added a core strength routine to aid my training.

    My training style is not applicable to the majority of riders, but some kind of structure can yield the most improvement. A coach can be a valuable resource to those looking to use their time on the bike as constructively as possible. Having someone to keep you accountable and give perspective is priceless. Find a coach that is relatable and knows your intentions on the bike. Once the uncertainty of picking workouts is in someone else’s hands, you are free to focus on the task at hand. Whatever your reason for riding, whether it’s ambitions of winning a Wednesday night crit or just riding to work, I hope this post will challenge you to get the most out of your rides. 

    by Megan Pacella On Saturday, the Cumberland Transit crew headed over to Percy Warner Park to celebrate the Grand Opening of the mountain bike trails at Percy Warner Park. Along with a handful of other sponsors, we came loaded up with gear for rent so new riders could get out...

    NASHVILLE OPENS BRAND NEW MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS AT PERCY WARNER PARK

    by Megan Pacella

    On Saturday, the Cumberland Transit crew headed over to Percy Warner Park to celebrate the Grand Opening of the mountain bike trails at Percy Warner Park. Along with a handful of other sponsors, we came loaded up with gear for rent so new riders could get out on the dirt paths. 

     

    The 8 miles of trails run through the northwest section of the park with a trailhead at the Percy Warner Park Golf Course and at the Deep Well park entrance. There are trails for all skill levels, ranging from beginner to advanced, so check the trailhead signs before you ride. According to members of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association-MidTN (SORBA), the Percy Warner Park trail is Nashville’s first properly-manicured trail with miles of flow trail with large banks, berms, corners and hops.

     

    Check out our photos from the grand opening celebration:

     

     

     

     

     

    By Kern Ducote It is incredible when you stumble around a corner to find the most lovely pool of dark shaded water towards the back of a slot canyon. You cannot help but be overcome with gratitude and happiness. When I stumbled on this particular pool, it had been 50...

    FINDING WATER IN THE DESERT

    By Kern Ducote

    It is incredible when you stumble around a corner to find the most lovely pool of dark shaded water towards the back of a slot canyon. You cannot help but be overcome with gratitude and happiness. When I stumbled on this particular pool, it had been 50 hours since the last time I filled up my 10 liter carrying capacity. As I approached, I considered jumping head long into the delectable water, but when I grew closer and my line of sight shifted, I slowly came to realize that I had been deceived. What looked like a nice pool of water were only the marks that water had left long ago. The shadows were playing tricks on my eyes. Until that point, I had never seen a mirage. But that, indeed, was a mirage. I was seeing exactly what I had so longed for. 

    So there I was, in the desert, parched and disappointed. It was the moment of hope being dashed out that really got to me. After so long without a water source, that precious commodity that we so often take for granted, I had come to expect it. I thought, “Surely we must be getting closer to water somewhere. We have covered so much ground that has long been forsaken of such goodness. We are getting nearer thanks to the process of elimination. We must be!”

     One of the most beautiful places you could ever find yourself is in the desert where there is water. The amount of life that flourishes off of so little is undeniably remarkable and efficient. I eventually found myself there, at the base of a small waterfall that came from underneath the surface of the rock flowing cool and clear. After filling myself with more water than I should have (considering the sheer number of times I went to the bathroom in the next 12 hours) and finishing a water battle with my compadres, I fell where we were standing and nearly went directly into an afternoon siesta in the shade next to the falls. I was so content and relaxed that drool was flowing freely from my mouth. I was care free. There was water–and at that moment, water was all I needed.

    Take caution when going into the desert. You will certainly learn some things–some of which you will not be ready to learn. The best thing you can do is plan ahead and prepare (Leave no trace is principle number one), but there are some things that sneak up on you, take you by surprise, or catch you off guard. Enjoy the lack of bias that the desert and wilderness offer, and immerse yourself in creation. Take your experiences and learn from what you have gone through.